What John Boehner's Pivot On Cannabis Tells Us About The Legal Weed Boom – NPR

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A passer-by examines a cannabis sample at the New England Cannabis Convention held in Boston back in March. Some polls show that six in 10 Americans favor marijuana legalization. Steven Senne/AP hide caption

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Last week, John Boehner, the retired congressman from Ohio and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, announced on Twitter that he was getting into the weed game:

I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities. @AcreageCannabis https://t.co/f5i9KcQD0W

— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 11, 2018

“I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved,” Boehner wrote. “I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.”

That John Boehner, of all people, is now a proponent of cannabis perfectly illustrates the ironies of the way Americans think about weed as the industry slinks out of the gray market. The people positioning themselves to profit from the nominally legal weed boom are overwhelmingly white, but the people who continue to be punished for its illegality — in part, due to policies that Boehner has supported — are most likely to be black.

Acreage Holdings cultivates and distributes cannabis across 11 states, and as such, hopes to to roll back federal restrictions on the drug. Landing a partner with Boehner’s influence and connections in Washington qualifies as a coup. But it’s a startling about-face for Boehner, who in 2011 said he was “unalterably opposed” to the legalization of marijuana. In 1999, he voted against legalizing medical cannabis

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